Why We Can’t Forgive?!
Last year I struggled to forgive someone in my life.
Sometimes the answers we seek the most come to us at just the right time.
I read a book called, The Heart is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out, by The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
As I flipped through the book, I glimpsed the title Forgiving others.
In order to forgive someone who has harmed you, it helps to reflect that the person was certainly driven by some upheaval of strong emotions.
The logic we used in asking who really controls the stick can help here.
People’s crazy emotions can make them act crazily and you might even see them suffering from a case of temporary insanity.
At that moment I felt I could let go of my resentment.
The only thing left that had stopped me from forgiving him was not putting myself in his shoes and trying to understand the motives behind his actions.
It felt so good to forgive that I raised up both of my hands and I screamed out loud saying, I forgive him!
Saying those words might be difficult at times, even when we feel that we are ready to forgive, our ego resists it and we think that feeling resentful is imperative to our journey.
Having said that, forgiveness is a state of mind.
The thing that stops us from forgiving someone is our own mind.
Our refusal to forgive stems from the fear of appearing weak not in the eyes of another but in the eyes of ourselves.
We already feel weak because we have been deceived.
Therefore not forgiving maintains a strong image in our mind.
Then comes the issue of attachment.
The greater part of my inability or refusal to forgive was my unconscious attachment to that person.
I knew that the moment I forgave him, I would be writing the end of our story with my own hands and the truth is that I didn’t want to let go of our story.
I didn’t want to admit that it ended already.
So refusing to forgive someone might be an unconscious way to keep the story ongoing at least in our heads.
Another pivotal issue was the need to punish the other person for what he did to us.
Although in reality we don’t directly punish him but we do firmly believe that through holding on to our anger, we are hurting him back.
Moreover we think that in this way we might cease the hurtful behaviour that was done to us.
We can all relate to at least one of these issues.
To sum it up, we imagine that we can find a solution to our problems through our refusal to forgive.
Now we need to understand that forgiveness has everything to do with us and nothing to do with the other person.
His turn is over.
Forgiveness lies within us and not within him.
Having said that forgiveness is not an outer action, it is not removing a block on Facebook or sending an I forgive you card.
Forgiveness is an inward reaction which we can consider it an action in itself.
Since forgiveness is a state of mind we need to cleanse our minds from unwholesome thoughts.
To start off we have to comprehend that we are not weak for forgiving others.
Accepting the end of the story and being willing to cut the cords is strength in itself.
Refusing to forgive is actually our weakness.
We need to understand that the person who is not able to forgive doesn’t really know we are exerting punishment on him.
Any negative feeling that we hold inside us toward that person doesn’t hurt him at all, in fact it gives him credit and power to know that we are still hooked to an old hurt.
Resentment only hurts us and with time it becomes a burden that we need to let go of.
The next step is to swallow the whole of what I read in Karmapa’s book.
It is valuable to understand that others are conditioned by emotions and thoughts that push them to behave in certain ways.
His Holiness the Karmapa states,
When people fall into the grip of strong emotions they can do all sorts of harmful things not only harmful to others but also harmful to themselves.
When you recognise that their emotions are making them act in this way, you view them differently.
Realising that people are the victims of their own actions will set you free.
Instead of making space for hate, we make space for sympathy and compassion.
We often ask others to put themselves in our shoes so they can understand how we feel.
Well how about we put ourselves in his shoes for once?
When we understand that people have all sorts of reasons to behave in particular ways, we gain a broader look at the situation.
Forgiving others is not an easy task but it is possible.
Give yourself time.
When you feel you can forgive and let go don’t hold on to the grudge any longer. Release it.
Forgiveness doesn’t solve all our problems and it is certainly not meant to excuse the harm that another person has caused us.
Nonetheless, forgiveness is a way to stop the story from affecting us when in fact the story has already ended before it even starts.
The book is closed and the chapter is almost forgotten but we keep reading it over and over again.
It is our choice to put the book back on the shelf and never open it again.